Breaks as Guardian Angels From Deb Kim

Congratulations to Rhonda, who won Darien Gee’s FRIENDSHIP BREADBreaks. They can be large, small and in between. They can be good (find a penny pick it up!) or bad (my mother in law broke her ankle six weeks ago and is still in the hospital with complications.) We all love to catch the good kind of break. But sometimes, we get to be the guardian angel who “throws” a break to someone else. Here’s my story.

In November of 2007 I was flying home from The National Autism Association conference in Atlanta, Georgia. While 35,000 feet in the air (otherwise known as far too high to fall) the captain announced that we had a technical problem that necessitated an emergency landing at National airport in Washington, DC. Not a good break. We approached the runway to find a phalanx of fire trucks, lights flashing, airport that was otherwise quiet waiting for our descent.  I called my husband on my cell phone to ask him what time it was…..  Ahem. We landed without incident. The best kiss I’ve ever had was on terra firma (literally) at DC. 

We waited over seven hours for repairs. There were no alternative flights to New York that night. I remember swearing, “How the heck is this that I can’t get from The Capitol to any of New York’s airports on a Sunday night?” Finally our plane was ready to go. Another break! We were seated on the little jetway bus that looks like it  rolled off the Jupiter II for a landing on Alpha Centauri to connect us to our plane.  Then we got a bad break. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been informed that our flight crew can no longer fly based on hours at work requirements. We’ll be sending you to a hotel to spend the night.”

A teen girl traveling alone was seated across from me. Her face turned white.

I introduced myself, telling her I was a Mom of three kids (and not an axe murderer) and that I’d be happy to go to the hotel with her.  I asked her to call her Mom, which she did. I gave her Mom my name, address, pointed her to my blog and tried to make her feel a bit better that her daughter was spending the night alone in a hotel  in DC.  At the hotel, I got the girl a room with an adjoining door and told her I’d leave it closed – but she could knock and come in at any time.

We left the next morning and landed safely in New York. I met her Mom in the terminal and we hugged. They went their way, I went mine.   I was happy to throw that young woman a break. Have you done the same for someone?


10 Replies to “Breaks as Guardian Angels From Deb Kim”

  1. That is a wonderful story, Kim. It was so thoughtful of you not only to offer yourself as a security blanket, but to talk to the girl’s mother and present your not-an-axe-murderer credentials. That was going the extra mile. 🙂

    I once helped a stranger at a laundromat get to the hospital when it appeared he might be having a heart attack. (This was before cell phones were common, and it was faster just to take him to the ER than it would have been to call and wait for an ambulance.) He was more worried about what would happen to his dog — and adorable, scruffy terrier — than to him, so I promised to take care of the pup until he could send a family member for it. Made me feel good to help. 🙂

  2. I completely bet that family tells this story as a lucky break and thanks you in their hearts all the time!

    I certainly hope that I give other people breaks all the time, but I can’t think of a story as exciting as that one. I do like paying other people’s tolls when I go through a tollbooth, though…

  3. That’s a fantastic story! I’m with Eleanor — I’d like to think I’ve done things for people, but can’t think of a great story. Time to volunteer for first grade!

  4. Kim, that’s such an awesome story. I bet that girl will remember you for the rest of her life (and I’m sure her mom will). Like everyone else it inspires me to go out and find someone to help today too.

  5. We can all be like the Liberty Mutual Commercial – I love that song they use in their ads – it’s a pay it forward theme ad. Sometime I want to kick a puppy though, I’m no Mother Teresa.

    (I don’t kick puppies, please do not call SPCA!)

  6. Kim, your story brought tears to my eyes! How very sweet.

    I did something similar. I was helping Norm sell his product at the Big E last year (if you haven’t been, you should!). A cute teen approached me. Within minutes, I recognized that he was “one of mine” (meaning that he was on the autism spectrum) and that he was separated from his caregivers.

    I foolishly asked if he was lost to which he replied, “no.” Then I used my book smarts and asked, “do you know where your mother is?” He again replied, “no.” I asked if he would like help finding her and he answered promptly, “yes.” I escorted him to guest services who contacted security and reunited him with his mother within minutes.

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